We’re in the home stretch! We’ll be discussing the last three items in our series of what can go wrong with any vehicle, in regards to some familiar components, and when. As we’ve mentioned all along, this is meant to be a guide. Not to throw in any legalese at you, but “your individual results may vary”. As always, if you have any questions, by all means, stop by or feel free to pick our brains the next time your vehicle is in for some routine service.
Brake Pads; These parts are definitely a wear item that eventually have to be replaced. The rate at which they wear depends on how often the brakes are applied, how hard the brakes are applied, and the weight and velocity of the vehicle. Somebody who rides the brakes, drives aggressively, spends a lot of time in stop-and-go city traffic, will wear out their front brake pads much more quickly than a driver who stops gradually, or does a lot of open highway driving. A large, full-size SUV can go through a set of front brake pads in 30,000 miles, while a smaller, lighter economy car might go 60,000 to 70,000 miles before the front pads are worn down and finally need to be replaced. If only the pads need to be replaced, and you can change the pads yourself, a new set of pads might only set you back $30 to $75. But if the rotors are worn and have to be replaced, or you have a repair shop do the brakes, figure on $275 to $600 or more depending on the parts that are replaced. As a footnote, if your vehicle is equipped with rear disc brakes, it too will have brake pads. However, since the front brakes handle more of the braking, the rear pads, as a rule of thumb, can last twice as long as the front pads.
Tires; Another wear item that eventually has to be replaced. That’s the easy part – the problem is, that the vehicles original equipment tires can last anywhere from 20,000 to 60,000 miles. Replacement tires can run the same mileage gamut – anywhere from 30,000 to 70,000 miles. This also depends on manufacturer. Also coming into play are things like wheel misalignment and/or worn steering or suspension components – if not properly maintained and performed, worn parts & a vehicle out of alignment can accelerate tire wear significantly. Replacement tires typically run anywhere from $60 to $300 or more each depending on year, make & model, as well as tire size and type (high performance tires or run-flats, for example).
WARNING! Tires age internally regardless of mileage, and may become dangerously weak. Tires that are more than 6 years old should be replaced regardless of how much tread is left on the tires.
Anything Rubber; Synthetic rubbers are used for the multiple hoses throughout the vehicle – be they coolant, vacuum, fuel, emissions, or brakes. Also the seals & weather-stripping around doors and windows, as well as the hood and trunk. Rubber typically hardens, shrinks and cracks with age. After 10 to 12 years of service, many original equipment hoses, seals and weather-stripping can start to leak. Keeping a vehicle in a garage will reduce the exposure to ultraviolet light and ozone which ages rubber, and may expend the life a few more years. But eventually, many rubber parts on well cared for garaged vehicles will deteriorate and fail.
Engine parts made out of plastic can also become brittle and crack with age. This includes plastic intake manifolds, valve covers and even oil pans. Other plastics that deteriorate with age include plastic fuel tanks, body & interior trim, dash covers, as well as plastics used in upholstery.